Alviso, CA - Tivo proclaims that their product is a "Life-changing
TV experience" and their latest Tivo Get-A-Life (TivoGAL) feature
exemplifies that motto.
"Tivo has revolutionized TV viewing habits, and really made
watching TV enjoyable and easy," said Tivo CEO Kelly Treadwell, "so
much so that some of our users are watching too much TV. The TivoGAL
feature aims to stop that, and really make a difference in these
She continued, "If a user reaches a preset limit for "too
much" TV in a week the "TivoGAL" will turn off the
program you're currently watching and offer you some suggestion for
alternative activities. It monitors local weather and if it's nice
outside it'll suggest you do some outdoor activities. If it's raining
it may suggest you read a good book. If you watch a lot of country
music videos then TivoGAL may suggest you go get a six-pack and sit
on the porch."
A user can bypass the TivoGAL system three times, but after three
bypasses the TivoGAL will disable a home's electrical system for
12 hours. In extreme cases the Tivo will telephone the user's mother
and report how much TV you are watching.
Initial reactions to TivoGAL have been mixed. Parents have embraced
the new feature as another responsibility they can abdicate to technology.
Roy Haversham, father of two, expressed his joy for the TivoGAL, "With
the parental controls and TivoGAL I don't have to monitor my kid's
viewing habits. They can't watch HBO and the Tivo will tell them
they've watched too much TV. Responsibility-free parenting, I love
Conversely, Simon Chee, a Tivo user for a year, wasn't thrilled
with the new feature. He explained, "I just want the damn thing
to record programs, and let me pause live TV. I don't need it to
tell me I'm a loser. My dad already calls to tell me that every night."
Cindy Fox was also disappointed. "I used to love my Tivo, but
the other day it said, 'Instead of watching mountain biking on TV
why don't you go out and do it, lard-ass.' I cried for two hours," reported
Treadwell admits that TivoGAL has some bugs which might cause some
users to be offended, but that will be ironed out for TivoGAL Version
The newer version will add some features like one which would help
singles with similar viewing habits connect. For instance, TivoGAL
might notice a particular affinity for a program and display, "Our
logs indicate that Sylvia Jackson at 576 Mill Road (0.2 miles from
your residence) also has a strange obsession with gardening shows."
Bill Doty contributed to
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